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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Zealand's Quake doesn't shake AirAsia's new service

AirAsia X is committed to its Christchurch service in spite of being hit by both natural disaster and rising fuel prices.
Quake doesn't shake AirAsia's new service (Source: ONE News)
The budget airline 
began services to Christchurch on April 1, just a few weeks after the devastating earthquake.
Speaking to TV ONE's AMP Business, CEO Azran Osman-Rani said that there were an anxious few days while they assessed whether the airport was operational.
While the quake did cause a "significant slow down in sales", he said that cancelling the service was not an option.
Instead the airline has opted to increase its marketing, with Osman-Rani taking media anddignitaries on the inaugural flight.
He says they have worked hard to reassure travellers that Christchurch is open and that New Zealand still has plenty to offer.
"There's a lot more to do in the South Island besides the central business district of Christchurch," he said.
The airline is also finding custom from New Zealanders seeking adventure in Asia and in European destinations beyond.
The cut-price airline conducts much of its marketing online and Osman-Rani said that appealing to Kiwi travellers has been made easier due to their high internet usage.
However, high fuel prices have hit the airline, with fuel accounting for more than 50% of costs on the 10-hour flight to New Zealand.
Osman-Rani said that because many of the fares where sold prior to price rises the service will take longer to break even.
He says while it will be a challenge, they remain committed to keeping fares low and are focussed on the long term.
"This is a market that is worth investing in, it's got a lot of long term potential, a lot of keen interest from people in Asia and even in Europe, so we're committed to keep going on."
AirAsia X plans to expand its New Zealand service, which currently runs four times a week. They hope to have a daily service in operation in the next year.

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